Stephen Barker Liles and Eric Gunderson, collectively Love and Theft, are back with a new album that shares its name with one of the most jaw-droppingly beautiful and honest songs to ever be released – “Whiskey on My Breath.” The Whiskey on My Breath album incorporates eleven carefully selected tracks covering a variety of tempos and topics, all of which delectably showcase the duo’s harmonies and the complementary nature of their talents as they pertain to one another.
The album starts off strong with the up tempo “Can’t Wait for the Weekend,” which celebrates exactly what the title purports — time off from real life and a chance to throw down and have a good time. The album continues, sharing a collection of songs about love and life, observing the ups and downs of love and honoring the beauty (highs and lows) in life.
“Anytime, Anywhere” “Hang Out Hungover,” “Can’t Stop Smiling,” and “Like I Feel It” are songs about love, paying tribute to a relationship and spending time with somebody special — anytime, anywhere. Taking the approach of a positive and loving partnership, the tracks run parallel to a cliche country song that is likely to be lyrical therapy for one struggling with a loved one. With a variety of tempos and angles, the guys are able to sing about one subject, keeping each track as fresh as if it was the first on the list.
“Tan Lines,” “Wrong Baby Wrong,” and “Get Drunk and Make Friends” focus on life, whether it is having a good time and spending moments with those who count or getting back up after falling down. The trio of tracks, each with its own lesson about living, centering on good moments and extracting the positive from the negative, show Love and Theft’s diversity — both in sound and subject matter.
An overwhelming highlight of the album is undoubtedly the title track “Whiskey on My Breath,” which we previously reviewed on Country Music #CMchat. Risking redundancy as it pertains to this particular track, the slow, melodic tune embraces the faults and flaws of an imperfect individual, but realizes that those things don’t make someone “bad.” A song of repentance, the lyrics show accountability for sins and missteps in life while recognizing the importance of doing right by yourself before it’s too late. The beautifully harmonized chorus goes:
Oh I know I’m going to heaven, but I can’t go with me like this. I need to pull myself together before then. No, and I ain’t afraid of dyin’, but what scares me to death is meeting Jesus with whiskey on my breath.
“Everybody Drives Drunk” is another standout cut on the album, having the potential to be a radio single due to its interesting alternative country ballad sound and relatable lyrics about the mistakes everybody has in common. The track contains a deceiving title, as it does not actually represent the meaning of the song. Rather, it is a title into which those who carefully listen to the lyrics will be able to read, noticing that the song is about all people being intoxicated by something — whether it is love, a miscue in life, or actual alcohol — that causes them to do things their consciences wouldn’t typically allow. For example, Liles and Gunderson point out that we are all guilty of the same things, no matter how different we may be. The lyrics include the following line:
Fell off into the deep end, lie right to their best friend, said “I love you” when they didn’t even mean it.
A track of camaraderie that unites all people and calls into reality the fact that nobody is flawless and we all are guilty of similar indiscretions, the song with the figurative title speaks to all listeners.
The other highlight on the album is the mid-tempo track “Easy.” The song sings of how simple love can be when it’s true, identifying a natural easiness akin to breathing. What makes this song a standout performer on Whiskey on My Breath are the vocal performances of Liles and Gunderson, perfectly spotlighting their inherent abilities to blend with one another and create ear candy like few other acts can forge. To put it rather frankly, if you are looking for a prime example of what a duo should sound like, “Easy” is a track that will satisfy your search.
It comes as no surprise that Love and Theft’s new album, Whiskey on My Breath, is an eleven track masterful piece of art, full of gorgeous vocals, catchy cuts, and love and life lessons that speak to fans of all genres of music. With the lead single, “Whiskey on My Breath,” being one of their best songs to date, the album of the same name consists of many more tracks that could likewise rise to the challenge of impacting lives, as well as radio and charts.